Customer retention is a challenge that haunts marketers all across the globe. It is lifeline of revenue, profit, and even reputation of your business.

No business can survive without customer retention. In fact, for some business models and companies, retaining customers is even more important than acquiring new customers. And from cost perspective, it makes sense too. It can cost a brand up to 5x as much to get new customers vs. keeping old ones.

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But if customer acquisition is a mixture of art and science, customer retention is too. Often new startups are too focused on customer acquisition denying customer retention strategy its required attention.

There are three ways that will help you adapt to your customer’s needs and wants. And it will also help you in retaining your customers.

1. Get a content strategy (and create viral content)

Brands all across the world are using content to retain customers. In fact, 75% of marketers across UK say customer retention is their goal for investing in content marketing.

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Quality content will help you in “Bringing Back your lost sheep”. But this will only be possible if you publish quality content regularly and maintaining consistent voice. Coca-Cola’s Twitter account is an excellent example of audience engagement through engaging content. And needless to say how good Coca Cola are in maintaining their brand.

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Frequent content publish can come in the form of blog post or FAQs, how-to guides, product demos, product reviews, videos, announcements, podcasts, customer stories, and curated lists. The aim of the content is to educate or inspire or entertain your audience.

Of course, publishing content on a consistent basis is easier said than done. If you’re struggling to keep your site fresh, consider the following strategies:

  • Pencil it in: Set aside an hour or two each week to produce some content. Keeping a schedule might make all the difference.
  • Pre-plan content: Brainstorm 20-30 topics at a time, so that you can start writing without having to brainstorm new topics each time you start a new blog post or podcast.
  • Hire a guest blogger: When you find other industry authorities that share similar views, invite them to blog on your website. This gives you a break and you benefit from another’s authority.
  • Re-purpose content: Take one big asset and milk its research for all it’s worth. Break down stats, showcase surprising findings, and recap your research in podcasts and blog posts—you’ll be able to make one asset stretch a long way.

2. Exceptional customer service (especially via social media)

Good customer service is a part of every purchase and interaction with the internal and external contact. It can last a few seconds up to hours. So if we all do it and experience it every day it will help us in building a loyal customer.

Warren Buffett said it best.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. “

Netflix’s amazing customer service

Netflix is known for good customer service in a friendly way, even doing live video presentations on YouTube to discuss its quarterly earnings reports so that Netflix fans will be more interested in watching them. It also offers an online chat service to help customers having trouble with their service.

Also read: Customer Retention: Can User Experience Keep People from Jumping Ship?

One Netflix employee went out of his way to combine these two traits, taking on the role of a Star Trek officer during his troubleshooting session with a customer. The customer played along, and they both pretended to be members of Starfleet for the full conversation.

You can read the full conversation here.

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Now, it’s all about social customer service

But putting aside all kinds of customer service, we want you to focus on one aspect: social media customer service. Somehow, among the live chat support and phone and email support, you cannot neglect social customer service. Because your social customer service has direct impact on your customers. They can see how you treated others. And whether you even responded to them or not.

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Jay Baer, an American marketing consultant, speaker, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Youtility, says:

Customer service is the new marketing.

And this comes from a social customer service perspective. According a study published by Amdocs, 50 per cent of consumers now prefer social media to the telephone for customer service. It means they’re much more comfortable—rather than just staying on hold, listening to music—much prefer to go on to that company’s Twitter page or their Facebook page and post their customer service complaint or question there.

Your social media footprints might not bring in new customers. But they will certainly signal your current followers and customers that you care about them. And that’s reason enough for a customer to stick with you.

3. Never stop email marketing

Email is the probably the best source to be in touch with your customers. And the best thing is in an email you can say whatever you want. You can wish a customer happy birthday. Inform them about a new feature and ask them to try it. Send them a promotion offer. Or even ask for feedback.

Do you know transactional emails — receipts, invoices, notifications, reports, etc. — are opened at up to 8x the rate as compared to promotional emails? All sane brands use this strategy.

For example, Hootsuite sends update of monthly Twitter performance to you at the start of every month. So when you’re about to forget Hootsuite, you know there’s a tool that is helping you. Similarly, Tripadvisor sends monthly emails asking for review for the places you visited. In fact, their emails have reports telling you how many people read your reviews and where they are from.

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Email can be deployed to overcome all the three major reasons of customer not coming back to you: initial inactivity, partial inactivity, and complete inactivity. Some of the biggest brands in the world including Amazon, Dropbox, Hootsuite, HubSpot, and even Google use emails to interact with their customers.